EII works by providing individuals or applications a single, virtual view across multiple data sources. A view represents a business entity - a customer, a sales pipeline, or the performance of a manufacturer s production floor - annotated with a metadata-based description. Applications access a view as if its data were physically located in a single database, even though individual data may reside in different source systems. When an application accesses a view, the EII platform transparently handles connectivity with back-end databases and applications, along with related functions, such as security, data integrity, and query optimization. Applications address queries to the EII layer, which then communicates with the underlying data sources to gather and return the answers. This shields applications from the details such as location and format of the information, protocols and query languages supported by the information sources, and the programming interfaces supported by the database servers. It also allows the applications to process data independent of changes to the underlying data management infrastructure. EII can work in conjunction with existing integration technologies like ETL extract, transform, load- and EAI enterprise application integration-, but some people blur the distinctions among these technologies. Unlike ETL, EII leaves source data in place and retrieves what it needs, on demand. Compared with EAI, EII is clearly for combining information assets, not for scheduling data flows between applications. Source and full article: businessintelligence.ittoolbox.coma>

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